6 Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Attorney R. Mack Babcock discusses the most common types of wrongful death cases, and their causes
Wrongful death is defined as the death of a human as the result of a wrongful or negligent act(s) of another person. In addition, wrongful death falls in the grey area that differentiates it from murder or manslaughter and/or an accident with non-life threatening injuries.
It can be difficult to find a person liable for a wrongful death. In order to be liable, it must be proven that the defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff, or deceased person. Moreover, the culprit must also have breached this duty of care by either failing or refusing to act with reasonable care. In addition, this breach must have directly caused the injuries that resulted in the death.
There are 6 common examples of accidents that sometimes lead to a wrongful death case. Continue reading for a brief description of each of these types of accidents.
Each year more than 300,000 lives are lost due to car accidents and countless more face a long recovery. After such accidents, injured drivers, passengers and families are left to struggle with medical bills and/or reduced household incomes.
Car accidents typically result from:
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Road defects
- Road repair and construction activity
- Auto defects
- Drunk driving
While still caused by a motor vehicle, truck accidents are different because of the size and weight of the vehicle in question—i.e. semi-trucks. These kind of accidents are different because when a truck hits a smaller vehicle, passengers in the smaller vehicles are very likely to suffer from serious injuries or death.
There are numerous ways semi-trucks can cause wrongful deaths, including:
- Driver error and negligence (including failing to signal, driving fatigued and jackknifing)
- Aggressive driving
- Driving during adverse conditions
- Driving with an overweight load
- Mechanical defects
- Truck company negligence
- Driving while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol
Typically, these types of accidents are caused when drivers fail to take notice of motorcycle drivers—which, could eliminated by simply checking before changing lanes. Motorcyclists involved in accidents could be left suffering:
- Brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
- Broken bones and scarring
Motorcycle accidents often require legal help because many drivers’ insurance coverages do not cover injuries to such a degree. In addition, motorcycle accidents can occur when motorcyclists crash due to road defects or other types of hazards.
Fortunately, most doctors and nurses are good at their jobs; however, there are instances when being good isn’t good enough and accidents occur. When doctors and nurses cut corners or fail to follow proper procedures, people are killed. Examples of such instances include:
- Birth injury
- Wrong diagnosis
- Delayed and improper treatment
- Lack of informed consent
- Pharmaceutical errors
- Surgical errors
- Defective medical devices
(NOTE – The Babcock Law Firm does not handle medical malpractice cases)
Most manufacturers work hard to ensure the products they sell are safe for the public to use. However, when they do fail to produce safe products, manufacturers should be held responsible. Examples of defective products causing wrongful deaths involve a variety of defects, including:
- Toxic Food Products and Containers
- Dangerous Childcare Products and Toys
- Defective Vehicles
Employers have a responsibility to keep their employees safe while they are working—as laid out and enforced by OSHA. Examples of workplace wrongful death claims can involve accidents from any industry, including:
- Repetitive Motion and Strain Injuries
- Manufacturing Accidents
- Transportation Industry Accidents
- Asbestos and Mesothelioma
- Barge and Towboat Accidents
- Railroad Worker Injuries
In most cases, the family will be entitled to death benefits through their state’s workers’ comp system, but in some narrow circumstances, the family may be able to sue for negligence.
Roughly 4,600 workers are killed in the workplace each year nationwide—which equals an average of 89 a week or 12 a day! Luckily, this number is the second lowest since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992.
Wrongful death lawsuits are important to family members. Families rely on these settlements to pay medical bills, funeral expenses and missed income. With that said, wrongful death lawsuits are not entirely about obtaining compensation since legal actions like this are also designed to hold individuals, companies or employers accountable for their actions.